[ Stress and anxiety relief with audio visual brainwave entrainment || How and why does brainwave entrainment reduce stress || Relieving anxiety with entrainment improves sports performance || HRV and why this matters for stress and anxiety || Success with AVE in easing pathological worry || How to use the roXiva RX1 as a relaxation lamp ]
Without a doubt two of the most prolific and costly challenges financially, physically and mentally in our modern world are stress and depression.
There’s no need to go into the negative consequences of either to come to a conclusion that reducing these two problems is beneficial to both individuals, businesses and society as a whole.
From a personal perspective, stress has a major impact on health and happiness. And from a business perspective.., stress is responsible for more lost productivity, corporate burnout, mistakes and high staff turnover than any other factor in work life.
Sometimes for your own peace of mind and balance.., it’s useful to just switch off from it all. Challenges will still be there when you get back, but for now.., you just need some stillness.
Silence and contemplative though as a cure for stress
French philosopher Blaise Pascal famously wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
I have yet to find someone who considers themselves fulfilled and/or making progress that does not have at least one mindful way to remove themselves from the normal thought processes of life from time to time. It doesn’t have to be for hours on end. Sometimes something as simple as listening to music, exercising or walking in nature can get close to this stillness or inward focus.
Most people find if they look hard enough, that there is something they do that is quite close to this idea of still and quiet contemplation of being.
Neurologically, when we are stressed there is an inter-hemispheric imbalance in the brain and an excess of high Beta (> 22Hz approximately) brain activity.
Both of these neurobiological issues can be addressed with various practices like meditation. Often however, the time it takes to get effective results is long enough and frustrating enough to have people give up.
Habitual relaxing changes the quality of problems
The main subject of this article is to introduce you to a technology and method known as Audio Visual Entrainment or Brainwave Entrainment that can be your personal guide to do most of the work for you. And being that the proof is in the actual experience, I have many accounts of people relaxing more profoundly than ever before after a session with this technology.
Typically what happens when you get into a habit of relaxing deeply on a more consistent basis, is that problems become just another thing to learn to respond to differently.
Problems never really go away.., but the quality of problem becomes much more manageable and short lived when you can approach it from a calm centred mindset. Solutions appear as if out of nowhere and creativity increases exponentially.
When you arrive at a point where you can function with purpose and progress in an environment of controlled chaos (kind of like what we are living in with this 2020 pandemic) your life changes dramatically.
Purpose and progress
In my experience two of the biggest antidotes to both stress and depression are purpose and progress. If you have a goal that excites you and you are making consistent progress toward it’s achievement then you don’t have time to be depressed. Stress becomes more like busy excitement.
And the only efficient way to be in that mindset is to let go of persistent negative thoughts and focus with clarity and calmness on the present, with only short bursts of thought about the past or future.
Stress and anxiety relief with Audio visual brainwave entrainment
Having spent years interacting with people using brainwave entrainment for benefit or entertainment.., I still find it surprising that more people don’t talk about how this technology has helped them relax and let go of tension and stress.
The number of people I have seen come out of a session looking and feeling better is almost 100%.
I think people sometimes take anything that reduces stress in their life for granted. Therefore they don’t leverage those things enough and forget that they have ways to get relief if they need it.
Outlined below are a couple of peer reviewed studies showing the effectiveness of brainwave entrainment BWE or audio visual entrainment AVE on reducing anxiety, worry and stress.
Most studies on BWE make mention of this effect as being part of the reason for any number of benefits that have been studied. Few studies seem to have it as the goal.
Research only goes so far to tell the story of BWE and stress relief though. Personal experience is far more valuable and valid as it takes our individuality and differences into consideration. The reality is that like anything.., experiencing it yourself will tell you far more than any research study.
How and why does Brainwave Entrainment reduce stress?
The simple answer could be that taking time out of your day to withdraw from the outside world and enter a dream type experience is enough of a reason.
It’s what lead me to BWE in the first place. I never really found meditation to be either attractive to me or successful in relaxing me. So when I came across a device that promised to do it for me I was sold.
There is more to it than that though.
Improved HRV Heart rate variability, serotonin release, increased cerebral (brain) blood flow, trance states of dissociation, specific frequencies associated with relaxation and meditation are some of the more quantifiable results.
Due to the nature of this type of entrainment, synchronisation occurs across the whole brain. And a synchronised brain finds it very hard to be anxious because anxiety tends to favour left brain thinking.
Dissociation from the outside world is common with brainwave entrainment also. And this escape from repetitive thoughts can bring huge relief to those who suffer from anxiety and stress.
Spaced repetition is key to learning how to be more at ease in a fast paced world and brainwave entrainment is one easy way of doing that and also staying motivated to keep doing that.
Less quantifiable but powerful stress busting results also come from rhythmic patterns of colour, shape and movement caused by the pulsing light and sounds as well.
All of this combines to take you away from everything and then bring you back feeling like you’ve just been on a trip to your favourite beach or park.
My role in this industry is research and session creation and some of these sessions have adopted a life of their own. Some are for relaxation and some are a drug free psychedelic experience synchronised to music.
Breaking the habit of conditioned experience
Even with these stimulating entertainment sessions I’ve never had someone finish and say they feel stressed. It’s usually more like “Holy s*** that was awesome.., can I do it again?”
I get feedback constantly from others saying how appreciative they are for this technology. It’s what drives me on to do more. I say this because the first hand results that I get to know about are what I think matters most. Stress is a conditioned habit that we get used to and relaxation can become a conditioned habit also.
Non drug related alternatives do not get much attention. Billions of dollars go into producing and testing a new drug you can take, as this is quite frankly the most efficient way to help the most amount of people.
If you, like me, are interested in alternatives that in many cases outperform the drugs then BWE may be one of those things for you to experience.
As you will see in some of the research where follow up testing was conducted, the positive results last past the point of the sessions ending also without any coaching or guidance.
There are two sides to that in my opinion. As with meditation.., the results do last even if you stop your practice. But for how long?
If you fall back into old habits and stop taking time out to be quiet and reflective or at least to disengage from your normal activities.., then slowly but surely your life will get back to being more stressful again.
What I think happens when people use or do something for a while to get themselves more relaxed and then stop doing it but still remain relaxed.., is that they adopt another strategy to get the same or similar result.
Listening to music, going for a walk, exercising, playing a game or joining a club or group are all different ways to in a sense ‘meditate’.
The secret I think.., is to find something either easy or that you enjoy or both.
To that end, maybe brainwave entrainment could be that for you too.
Relieving anxiety with entrainment improves sports performance
65 track and field athletes took part in a study to see if AVE/AVS (audio visual entrainment/stimulation) could improve the adaptive components of their performance and recovery to physical and emotional stress.
20-22 sessions of 25 minutes each spaced at 24hr intervals with a protocol of 13Hz down to 4Hz and back again were used. The results showed a significant reduction in internal tension and frustration and an increased resistance to stress compared to the control group.
At the same time motivation to succeed increased in this group as well as more efficient heart activity while at rest. As a side observation.., memory and attention also showed improvement.
Overall the AVS sessions resulted in an increase in emotional stability and feelings of quietness and balance.
Also of interest was that the control group who did not receive any AVS sessions had an increase of exhaustion and decrease in motivation as the study progressed. This is to be expected as training gets harder and recovery less efficient. The AVS group did not have this challenge.
Heart rate variability and why this matters for stress and anxiety
What is HRV or Heart Rate Variability? HRV is basically a measure of our hearts ability to change rapidly and consistently to a changing environment and is considered an important marker of heart and overall health.
A positive HRV score has been shown in research to be conducive to more oxygen in the body and lowered blood pressure.
The opposite, a low HRV score has been associated with health challenges like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, anxiety, stress and depression.
More than any other organ in our body, our heart must by nature be ready for anything. In one moment it may need to slow down and allow you to fall asleep and in another moment it may need to speed up to help you avoid danger.
Your heart must be ready for constant change throughout the day.
Improve your HRV, lower your stress
HRV is therefore both an indication of mental and physical flexibility and is something worth considering as part of an overall awareness of health.
In the following study participants were given 10 sessions of audio visual entrainment.
The sessions started in Beta rhythms (12-30Hz approx) and then moved down through Alpha (8-12Hz), Theta (4-8Hz) and finally into Delta (0.5-4Hz) before then returning to a low Beta (12-14Hz) just before the end of the session to make integration to alertness easier.
Standard tests for anxiety, performance and HRV were given before during and after this course of sessions to both this group and a control group who got no AVE.
Significant reductions in anxiety responses were found in the test group.
Thus it was shown in this study that Audio visual entrainment or stimulation increased heart rate variability, and reduced anxiety. Increased vagus nerve stimulation was concluded to be a major contributing factor in these positive results. The vagus nerve is associated with heart, lungs and digestive control.
Success with Audio Visual Entrainment in easing pathological worry
This next study tested the effectiveness of AVE on pathological worry, anxiety and stress in 113 college students.
Four protocols were used.
One control group with no intervention.
One group who used expressive writing/journaling.
One group who used incremental worry exposure.
One group who used audio visual stimulation/entrainment.
After one supervised session with a technician the participants were instructed to do 12 sessions over a month long period, IE: 3 sessions a week.
Standardised tests for worry, anxiety and stress were given before and after the treatment.
Significant improvements were measured for both the worry exposure and audio visual entrainment groups.
Interesting also, is that when the participants were measured 3 months later, the improvements had continued showing a lasting effect. And this is despite the AVE protocol not being used for that post study period unlike the other methods.
Also of interest is that the AVE group had the highest compliance of all the groups for following the protocol. This suggests that the relative ease of just relaxing as the device does the work is easier to stick to than having to engage in mental effort as required by the other methods.
Although no claim to medical or therapeutic benefit is made or guaranteed with any such device or protocol.., I have never been prescribed or encouraged by my doctor to consider meditation either, despite the growing evidence that it can be more effective than a drug.
This is about taking control back into your own hands and searching (as you obviously are to find this website) other ways to enhance your enjoyment and wellbeing.
Naturally there are other tools you can add to BWE and AVE to help with stress relief too. And some of these can be found in other articles on this website such as using breathwork and improving the quality of your sleep (see links below).
How to use the roXiva RX1 as a relaxation lamp
So how do you use all this information and how can technology like the roXiva RX1 audio visual brainwave entrainment device help you?
The RX1 uses a natural function of our brain called the frequency following response. This is where the rhythms of brain activity can be influenced by an external source of stimulation. In the case of the RX1 this is done by both stroboscopic light and pulsing sounds mixed with relaxing music.
The result quite literally has to be experienced to be fully understood.
Scientific research has shown via EEG electroencephalogram measurements done on both stressful people and experienced meditators.., that there are some consistent and significant differences in the patterns of brain activity.
Using this and the experience of many users of technology designed to reduce stress and increase relaxation, conclusions can be made and protocols put in place. Sessions can be created for devices like the RX1 that mimic and ‘entrain’ the dominant activity of your brain to be more like that of the calm long term meditators.
And over time, this leads to neuroplasticity (adaptability of neural pathways) and changes to habitual states of mind making it easier and easier to be in a relaxed state.
The library of relaxation and trance state sessions for the RX1 will keep you exploring for many months and years.
In essence you have your own meditation coach that takes you consistently and reliably into beneficial states of relaxation both physically and mentally.
Remember though that even with a virtual or literal coach.., you can still ignore them.
So the first step in any successful change is taking the step.
Kind of obvious really.., but easy to forget.